THE MUCH anticipated ‘Covid Centre’ is now up and running at SWAH.
One of several that have been rapidly established across the North in a bid to help the local health system cope with the influx of Covid-19 patients, the centre which opened at the Enniskillen hospital on Tuesday is expected to take the pressure off our local health service.
Local GP, Dr Brendan O’Hare, said the centres were much needed as more and more local people became infected with the virus.
“The idea of the Covid Centre is to keep the GP practices what they call ‘clean’. That means you do not bring potentially infected patients to the practice,” he said, adding people must contact their GP or the out of hours service for a referral to the centre. There is no waiting room and patients will be seen by appointment only.
Dr O’Hare, pictured below, said there would general be three types of coronavirus patients. The first will be those with mild symptoms, who will be advised to say home and self isolate.
“For most people that will be enough, as for the majority of people it is a very trivial illness,” said Dr O’Hare.
“At the other end of the spectrum is people who are obviously very unwell, they are very short of breath and all the rest. They won’t be going to the Covid Centre, they will be going direct to the hospital, because the Covid Centre would add nothing to their care.
“Then there are a group in the middle who may be rather unwell and it’s unclear whether or not they do need admission or whether they can safely manage at home. They will be the ones who will be asked to attend the Covid Centre.
“Those who may have it and are stable can go home, those who are sick will be handed over to the consultant led unit at the hospital.”
Dr O’Hare said the centre would help keep the local health system going: “It means only the sickest will get the critical care team. It means we can manage the flow in, protect our services, and make sure they are not completely swamped.”
Dr O’Hare will also help stop the spread of infection, by separating patients.
The centre will be run by local GPs, who have all been fully trained and will have the necessary protective equipment.
Dr O’Hare said most local GPs were on board: “I believe the large majority of GPs support the concept, but I would accept there are a number of GPs with strong reservations working in it, and that’s understandable.”
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